One western US military base holds a cattle drive each year. This annual event includes cattle, cowboys, and cowgirls, making their way all around the base, with military families turning out to watch the cattle go by.
According to an article by Airman 1st Class Kirby Turbak, 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs, the 18th Annual Cattle Drive made its way through Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma on August 25, 2016:
This unique event includes members of Altus Air Force Base and the local community drove approximately 20 Longhorn cattle throughout the base.
The cattle drive started at the main gate and made its way past the flightline, the 97th Training Center, through base housing and finally to the youth center and Rivers Elementary School.
During the cattle drive, base military leaders saddled up with cowboys and cowgirls, participating in the 39th annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Great Plains Stampede Rodeo, and drove the cattle approximately 3.5 miles around the base.
“Nowhere else in the Air Force have I seen something like this,” said US Air Force Col. Bryan Wood, 97th Operations Group commander. “It’s a great event and the base gets up for it.”
The base cattle drive is unique to Altus AFB and signifies the start of the rodeo week in the city of Altus. Each year, the cattle herded through the base gates are driven from a local ranch to the rodeo grounds to participate in competitions. The tradition began on August 26, 1999 with 15 riders to herd the cattle through the base and has grown since to become the base-community event it is today.
With Airmen and cowboys being in close range in this region their cultures fluently come together during this unique event.
“This even is a phenomenal,” said Chief Master Sgt. Philp Eckenrod “This really shows how the community embraces the Airmen here at Altus and the relationship that we have here is probably the best community relation in the Air Force.”
To watch part of the 2016 event, check out their video: Altus Air Force Base 2016 Cattle Drive.